The H1B visa is issued by the US to usher in fresh intentional talent into the country. The eligibility includes a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and employment evidence by a US-based firm. The H1B is one of the most coveted Visas, mainly because it allows people from abroad to attempt to build their careers in the Land of Opportunities.
However, there are a few FAQs that need answers, and we here are going to help you out with exactly that. So, let’s get right into it.
Applying For an H1B Visa? All Your Questions Answered!
1. Does Your Age Matter when Applying for an H1B Visa?
Many queries keep coming regarding the importance of age in this visa program. The truth is, age is not a restrictive factor as long as a person has the required credentials and abides by the specifications and conditions laid down by the USCIS.
As long as you have the required undergraduate degree in a specialty occupation, you cut.
The only factors that might narrow down your chances for such a visa are health conditions and the geriatric state of applicants, which might deter travel and maintenance purposes. You will get your visa application approved as long as:
- You have an employer willing to apply on your behalf for the work visa.
- The employer assures that he will maintain your needs.
- You are guaranteed a quality working environment and an equal wage as your counterpart US employees who are native citizens.
- Your employment doesn’t have any adverse effects on the work performance and ethic of the company.
The only deciding factor here is the willingness of a US-based organization to represent and employ you. However, if you have a medical condition, you might not get approved for the visa.
Otherwise, age is not a deterrent for the H1B visa, so you can pursue your dreams any time you want.
2. Can You Travel if You are an H1B Visa Holder?
Traveling while on an H1B visa has a lot of restrictions. You need to be aware of the regulations and the procedures for seeking travel permissions while you’re on this visa.
When you are on an H1B non-immigrant visa and have applied for an extension of your status after 3 years, if you travel on an unexpired visa or are exempt under the special provisions- you need to assure the Consulate that you are coming back to the US to resume your job.
In case your visa has expired, you will not be granted permission to enter the US. It would help if you reapplied for the H1B visa or an Extension of Status or Change of Status.
If you want to change your employment, you need to file another petition for the same and can only be allowed to travel if you have a valid visa and passport which hasn’t expired and a visa that has been filed by the previous recruiter.
Your previous documents and receipts for the H1B will be required, and only then can you travel. And you will have to stay outside the country if your visa application hasn’t been approved.
If the company you’re working in has undergone a merger or a split in assets, you need a special letter from your employers that states that you abide by the interests and duties of the previous recruiter and follow all the conditions stated in the original H1B visa program.
If you applied for a change of status from non-immigrant to immigrant, you need to receive an Advance Parole Authorization, and you won’t be allowed to re-enter the US. But if your visa is still valid and your change of status petition is pending, you can travel without worry.
This is due to the dual intent nature of the H1B visa. You need to provide your current valid visa with proof of your return to the US and a continued regime with the existing employer.
3. How Important is Work Experience When You Apply for an H1B Visa?
The H1B visa program is meant for people holding a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation category.
Although work experience in your native country may help find a sponsor, the only thing the USCIS will consider when considering your application is whether you have the skillset for the position you have been applying.
This will include your educational qualifications, skills, and expertise, and whether all of it does justice to the designation, you will be appointed.
It does help if you have pursued an internship or an apprenticeship at an organization previously.
And in the case of F1 visa holders who have been studying in the US, the OPT experience shall be considered. It will be easier for you to navigate through the visa application.
But if you’re applying from another country, for example, India, you can utilize your project experience. Internships will prove beneficial for the visa approval, and an additional set of courses to enhance your expertise will give you leverage.
If you are a fresh graduate, your application and work profile has to match your educational qualification. So if you’re a computer science graduate, you should file for an IT-based job and not something different from that discipline.
And if you have a degree in management, you should get into a job profile that is all about business and management. Although experts recommend that at least a couple of years experience before filing for an H1B visa is ideal, you can also file if you’re a fresher.
And if you hold a postgraduate degree from your native country, it will be great if you land a part-time job and make that count for your job experience so that your chances are stronger.
4. How Many Visas are Allotted to Indian Companies?
The lion’s share of US companies is highly dependent on the inputs and services imparted by Indian firms, as per information technology secretary Aruna Sundararajan who asserted that of 17% of the total 85,000 visas issued annually by the US are given to Indian firms as a result.
While reviewing the H1B visa scheme, she was positive that the US government would consider the contribution of the Indian firms to the US economy.
Sundarajan addressed the media at the Broadband India forum’s inaugural session and quoted this percentage while highlighting the USA’s dependence on Indian companies.
She also mentioned that India’s Government is working in close conjunction with the US government and consulate and believes that the new visa allocation policies will be based solely on camaraderie and cooperation between India and the US.
Addressing the layoffs, she said that some firms have made it clear that their policies will not be changed from what has been followed over the years, but following their appraisals and audits, the contracts with existing employees will be renewed.
Speaking of the current breakthroughs and technology, the IT Secretary asserted that the emergence of new technology with unprecedented growth in digital payments, cybersecurity, and big data might prompt some change of plans.
But she very clearly dismissed the fact that many IT jobs shall be lost in the future due to these changes.
5. What Taxes Do You Have to Pay as an H-1B Immigrant?
If you’re an H1B-visa holder, you might be confused about your tax duties. Since you receive a social security number on receiving an H1B visa, there may be situations where you might have to pay taxes and some conditions where you might not.
Green card holders have to pay taxes, but you may or may not have to report your income to the IRS depending on your visa conditions.
A non-immigrant visa holder’s main condition is that they become tax residents only if they spend 183 days of the current year within the United States.
So, if you spend 200 days in the United States as a non-immigrant visa holder, you might have to report your income to the IRS.
There may be one more scenario where you may be required to pay taxes even when you’ve spent less than 183 days inside the US.
If you’ve spent a minimum of 183 days in the US in the prior three years, which are also called weighted days- you’re liable to pay taxes. But if you’ve spent less than 30 weighted days in the US during the present year, you don’t have to pay taxes.
According to the weighted system, the days in the present year will be considered one day, while the days in the previous year count as 1/3rd of a day, and those of the year before being considered 1/6th of a day.
All this will amount to 183 days, but some professionals and employees of certain organizations and students of a particular category are exempt from this rule.
If you are paying taxes in your home country or any other country, you may be exempt from the taxes.
But if you don’t have a tax home in another country, you will be considered flouting tax rules and hiding your income, and the IRS will force you to pay taxes.
The taxes are paid by non-immigrant visa holders using an IRS form 1040, and the date for filing is by 15th April.
You, however, don’t need to pay taxes on the money you earn outside the US. Failure to pay taxes in the US is considered a criminal offense, and you may be deported as a result.
6. Can You Work For Multiple Employers on an H1B Visa?
Most people have this query regarding dual employment, where they want to know if H1B visa guidelines permit working for two employers simultaneously.
The fact of the matter is that dual employment is usually prohibited. It can be availed if you file for another visa application, which means you will have to hold 2 H1B visas if your employer is willing to provide all documentation and provide you with employment while paying the application fee.
If your second employer fails to do so, you will not be permitted to work for both the employers.
It is noteworthy to mention here that both your employers have to abide by the conditions stated by the USCIS, and this second visa has to be present on records.
Moreover, your employers need to have their respective wage slips and a Labour Condition Application with the necessary paperwork and documented evidence of you being qualified for both the job descriptions.
The employer also has to post a letter for the employee’s appointment at both the job locations.
Even if this is a contractual job, a visa for any job description is necessary.
With the current restrictions on visa lottery caps and exemptions, it isn’t easy to get two visas approved for the same person.
Opportunities are endless if you manage to get yourself an H1B Visa. However, the H1B Visa is earned and not simply given out easily. If you’d like to learn more about earning the Visa for skilled professionals, click here.